DiBona & Associates
DiBona & Associates

The Secret Sauce of Leadership

25.08.22 03:00 PM By Noel DiBona

The Secret Sauce of Leadership is...

The Proper Balance of Technology and People.

Is your team so technology-focused that they operate on autopilot?

In today’s technology-driven world many leaders overly rely on the power of e-communications and many other technologies in the daily performance of work.

Technologies bring huge advantages to organizations, but, unfortunately, this heavy reliance on technology can also have an unintended consequence of dehumanizing teams. Over time, teams can become reactive and distracted, the quality of work becomes choppy, and productivity suffers.

The trick is to use these technologies in the right balance without degrading the team’s ability to work together.

Successful businesses correctly harness the utilization of the right technologies with the proper focus on people. Business outcomes are much better when the proper balance of people and technology exist. We don’t want our teams to be on autopilot! We want our teams to be intentional, purposeful, and skillful.

More leaders are falling into the trap of not wanting to do the hard work when it comes to understanding people-related problems. Unfortunately, these mindsets and behaviors can tarnish the leader’s reputation and lead to strained communications between teammates and other influential leaders in the organization.

Not paying attention to people -related issues will compromise business goals and as a result limit the future growth potential of the leader. There are specific mindsets and behaviors that can stall leaders in their careers.

Leaders need to realize how to leverage the power of the team and get out of the practice of being task-driven and instead be more relationship-driven. This is a difficult concept for many leaders, particularly for leaders with backgrounds in the engineering sciences.

Technical professionals, in the beginning of their careers, gain success because of their ability to work through a large volume of technical tasks, but now they must shift their focus to their people.

As a leader, it’s about managing diverse and complex teams and making progress toward strategic business goals by collaborating with others and inspiring their people to greatness.

Resist going down into the weeds
Leaders can get stuck in the “individual contributor” mode. As a result, their teams can suffer from lack of direction, or they sense the leader is not engaged, is too busy, or doesn’t care about them. Leaders cannot force their teammates to be motivated but they can create the necessary environment, so their teammates have a desire to do their jobs efficiently and effectively, to collaborate with other teammates, to independently solve problems, for example.

Here are some ways that leaders hold themselves back
      • Some leaders don’t feel confident about mastering people skills. The put people-related problems in the “too hard to do” category. It’s messy and ambiguous and they really don’t like getting in the middle of all of that.
      • It is common for leaders to look for the problems when reviewing a new concept or idea and do so in a way that stifles creativity, and eventually turns the team against them. These leaders tend to have communication practices where they lack tact and come across as superior.
      • Some leaders can’t resist going down into the weeds. It’s familiar territory that strokes the ego. Unfortunately, it’s all backwards. Getting into the weeds drains the leader of precious time; it’s nothing more than a distraction from the more important part of the leader’s role.
      • Failure to act on solving people problems because the leader is uncomfortable and allowing the problem to fester is another way of that a leader can cause harm to the team.

The solution is self-awareness
If you are a leader and fall prey to these temptations, there is help. A careful accounting of your workstyle will help you. Insights into how you make decisions, evaluate risk, solve problems, and resolve conflict will help you better understand yourself and allow you to improve how others perceive you.

Only 15% of leaders have an accurate understanding of how their teammates perceive them. If you don’t understand how others perceive you, then how can you expect to lead your team? Every single communication will affect, for better or worse, how your teammates perceive you – and 60% of communication is non-verbal.

You need a tool to decode your behaviors! This will enable you to become more self-aware and also better understand the needs and drives of your teammates. Armed with this higher level of awareness, you will begin to better understand your strengths, and your potential blind spots.

With certain tools, this journey of self-discovery can be rewarding, and even fun. Without access to certain tools, it is difficult, if not impossible, to improve your leadership. It is like navigating a boat without a rudder.

If your team is not working as well as it could, don’t despair. It’s not your fault since you haven’t had access to the right tools.